03/27/2011 6:42PM

Santa Anita: Church Camp gets first stakes victory in Santa Lucia

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Benoit & Associates
Church Camp scores her first stakes win in Sunday's Saint Lucia Stakes at Santa Anita.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Church Camp won her first stakes in Sunday’s $82,020 Santa Lucia Stakes at Santa Anita, her first win around two turns. The victory led trainer Brian Koriner to consider graded stakes at longer distances for the former maiden-claimer in coming months.

“She could get better with a route under her belt,” he said. “We know she can do it.”

Ridden by Corey Nakatani, Church Camp ($14.60) was always near the front. She was second and then third behind pacesetter Jax El through the first six furlongs in 1:09.91, took the lead from 7-5 favorite Briecat in early stretch, and won by 1 1/4 lengths over Burg Berg. Jax El, who won an allowance race for statebreds on March 23, held third, a half-length behind Briecat in the field of seven.

The race was restricted to fillies and mares who had not won a stakes at a mile or longer this year.

Church Camp, the third choice in the betting, ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.39.

Owned by a partnership including Pete Parrella’s Legacy Ranch, Church Camp has won 4 of 9 starts and $146,420. She won a maiden claimer at Churchill Downs in November 2009 before joining Koriner’s stable. Last year, she was unplaced in two graded sprint stakes for 3-year-old fillies but won her last start before the Santa Lucia – an optional claimer over seven furlongs on Feb. 18.